Senior Life: Grassroots senior services group is halfway to goal

March 14, 2014
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JP@Home, a grassroots membership group with the mission of keeping aging residents at home as long as possible, is halfway to its goal of having 100 pledges to join.

The group, which is partnering with Jamaica Plain-based Ethos, was created last fall. It lets members join in a group purchase of such services as home visits and transportation, enabling them to live in private housing rather than a nursing home.

JP@Home currently has 52 pledges. Dale Mitchell, executive director of Ethos, said the group needs to have 100 to be financial viable. Ethos is a nonprofit that has been serving southeast Boston’s seniors for four decades. Its mission includes keeping seniors living in private homes as long as possible.

Mitchell said that JP@Home is geared toward middle-class people, as there is already subsidized service for low-income earners and the rich can afford the care. He said that the fact JP@Home is a grassroots group is “perfect” because that way it embeds itself in the fabric of the community.

One of those 52 pledges is co-founder Anne Gelbspan. She said that joining the group allows a person to have “peace of mind,” as a lot of people do not plan ahead, and being part of JP@Home allows that person to “avoid the nursing home as long as possible.” Gelbspan said the average age of the person that has joined so far is around 70 years old, but said the group has people ranging from their early 60s to people in their 80s. She said she hopes to reach the 100-pledge threshold by the end of summer.

Sandee Storey, another co-founder of the group and a Gazette columnist, said in an email to the Gazette that there are three major areas of benefits members can receive:

1) Group activities, such as social events; guest speakers and panels on topics of interest, including regarding aging issues; trips; and game nights. Members can also get discounts to local businesses.

2) Obtain free services and activities, such as volunteers to help with light chores, money management and computer problems.

3) Discounted paid professional help with activities of daily living, such as case management, personal care and meals.

JP@Home will have a presentation March 24 about the benefits of membership at Connolly Branch Library of the Boston Public Library.

For more information about JP@Home, call 617-522-9042, e-mail jpathome@ethocare.org or visit ethocare.org.

Best of JP 2014